THE SHOW HUNTER The hunter should be handsome as opposed to pretty By Samantha Watson YOUNG DRAGONARA (UK) owned, produced and shown by the Ryder-Phillips Family.
Dragon competed in the 15 hands section (which would loosely equate to our galloways, however in the UK their ponies of this size must show pony features and can go up to and sometimes over 15hh) during the 80’s & 90’s being a HOYS & RIHS (Royal International Horse Show) Show Hunter Pony Champion – quite an achievement.
He was truly amazing – as well as being good on the ﬂat he was also Champion at Royal International and HOYS as a Working Hunter Pony as well over fence of 3’9.
THIS PONY WAS THE MOST PROLIFIC WINNER OF SHOW HUNTER PONY CLASSES IN THE UK EVER.
Photo with kind permission of the Ryder-Phillips Family UK The ﬁrst accurately recorded fox hunt was in 1534 involving a farmer in Norfolk, United Kingdom who used his dogs to chase a fox suspected of killing some of his livestock.
There are references to hunting foxes in England as far back as AD43.
Following the restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, hunting grew as a “sport.” The ﬁrst organised British hunt was established during the 1670s in Yorkshire where organised packs hunted hare and fox.
Participants and proponents see fox hunting as a traditional equestrian sport as well as an important aspect of England’s aristocratic history.
Known as venery, the use of scent hounds to track prey dates back to Assyrian, Babylonian and ancient Egyptian times.
In 1753, a young country gentleman called Hugo Meynell began to hunt foxes on his own estate, Quorn in Leicester, UK.
Meynell was the ﬁrst person to breed dogs for speed, stamina and scent.
The speed of his dogs gave a new excitement to hunting foxes.
Meynell was a well known ﬁgure in London society who made fox hunting fashionable with the nobility.
By 1800, foxhunting was supported by most of the great landed aristocratic families most of which kept their own packs of hounds.
Hunt clubs were set up in country towns by local businessmen, lawyers and shopkeepers.
These clubs became the centre of social life in the countryside, hunting being a unifying force, bringing the whole rural community together in a shared activity.
Before motorised transport, the wealthy owner would ride his hack at a canter to meet hounds.
At the meet, he would change on to his hunter, which his groom had previously walked over to the meet ensuring the hunter stayed as fresh as possible for the day ahead. THE HORSE: Hunters should not be hacks (pony, galloway or horse) which have failed to win in their own division.
The hunter should be handsome as opposed to pretty, he should be capable of carrying weight in the hunt ﬁeld and should be of a substantial build, however, substantial should not equate to fat.
The hunter can be of no speciﬁc breed and successful hunters have included and are not limited to blends of thoroughbred, Irish draught, native pony, Welsh cob, Warmblood and Arabian blood.
Many international champion competition horses have made their initial competition career debuts in the hunter ring.
The hunter should give the appearance of being ﬁt and sufﬁciently conditioned to be able to follow hounds for a day’s hunting.
He should be sound, have an imposing presence and possess courage.
Naturally in the hunter show ring, a high quality, attractive horse is desirable, however, a plain but true to type hunter should always win over a horse which is obviously of hack type.
A would be champion should have that “look of eagles” which makes him appear an equine aristocrat, both in his manners and appearance.
Judges should not reward failed hacks or alternatively chunky, round boned horses with poor lung capacity. 00 Horse Shows Magazine www.horseshows.com.au BONE: Bone is measured horizontally from just below the knee.
A hunter horse over 15hh should have between 8 to 9 inches of bone.
The sizing of the bone should be in proportion to the size of the horse, galloway or pony.
Care should be taken to ensure that the limbs are not coarse, the ligaments and tendons should still be well deﬁned.
Weight and bone should be of an inﬂuence when you select your horse.
Look for substantial limbs, strong, ﬂat bone, large knees and hocks with elbows free of the body whilst keeping in mind that coarse bones and round joints are not acceptable in any horse.
The hunter must be properly underpinned with appropriate bone and length of leg.
In regard to ponies and galloways, there is no set bone sizing, however the bone should be commensurate to the size of the animal as previously mentioned and naturally, in keeping with the general description, the pony or galloway should lean more toward a traditional type or native breed pony or the Australian pony.
The pony or galloway hunter should never be a ﬁne type with ﬁne bone and should carry the same characteristics and substance we desire in a horse over 15hh regarding movement, manners, paces and type.
In Australia, to ensure a standard programme of events can be designed to suit these horses, it may be easiest to separate classes into heights rather than weight which is applied in England where hunters are separated into three sections, lightweight, medium weight and heavy weight.
One of the most controversial subjects in the showing of hunters in the UK is that of weight.
People allegedly have and will always argue about a particular horse’s weight, because it is not height that carries weight, but the bone below the knee.
The stamp of a horse also makes a difference as a tall, narrow animal often appears up to more weight than it actually is.
It is often the nice, short-legged horse which is the workman, deep of its body and with a good, sloping shoulder, short backed and with a fair set of limbs, having an attractive outlook and lots of natural presence.
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